This review was first published by Booklist on May 17, 2019.
Octavia Gone, the eighth entry in McDevitt’s Alex Benedict series (after Coming Home, 2014), brings back long-missing character Gabe, while Alex and crew tackle the tandem mysteries of a disappeared research station and a possibly alien artifact. What the crew discovers entails a moral conundrum that forces them to make difficult choices to find a resolution. As always, McDevitt’s story is well-structured and paced. His characters are relatable and it’s interesting to see how they react to Gabe’s reappearance. One of McDevitt’s hallmarks is his focus on external conflicts—solving the mystery and navigating its implications—but there’s little conflict between the characters; people in McDevitt’s worlds are reasonable and resolve their interpersonal issues without much ado. While the two mysteries tie together in the end, for much of the book they seem oddly unrelated. This book offers what McDevitt’s fans are looking for, but new readers will want to start with earlier books in the series.